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Di Matteo praises 'great spirit' as Chelsea rally to overcome Aston Villa

The visitors led by two goals before a five minute lapse allowed the Villans to equalise but goals from Ivanovic and Torres ensured the Stamford Bridge outfit grabbed the victory

Roberto Di Matteo has hailed the "great spirit" that ensured Chelsea emerged deserved winners at Aston Villa despite conceding two late goals.

With his side competing on three fronts, Di Matteo admitted fatigue was perhaps to blame for the five-minute period that saw two goals conceded but he was pleased with his team's reaction to being drawn level, and particularly with Fernando Torres' contribution.

He told Sky Sports: “Apart from the five minutes where we conceded those two goals, we controlled the game very well.

“We had some good chances as well to score maybe one or two more goals, but we know that towards the end of the game we might feel a little bit [tired from] the game from midweek.

“It’s happened and unfortunately we conceded those two goals but I think it was great spirit by the team to react because it could have gone the other way as well.

“We had some great chances in the first half – [Juan] Mata hit the post and some other chances.

“Villa Park has historically proven a very difficult ground for us – I think the last 12 games up here we’ve only won once – so we knew it was going to be a tough game.”

Torres scored his first Premier League goal for six months in the closing moments and had a hand in the opening goal, as well as getting the flick-on for Branislav Ivanovic's second, and Di Matteo was pleased with his contribution.

“He had a good chance in the first half and looked dangerous, and a cracking goal as well," he continued.

“It’s the quality of these players we have in the squad and we showed that again today.

“I’m so happy about the spirit that we’re showing at the moment, that we don’t give up and believe to the end of the game."

Chelsea are currently just two points off a top-four position as Arsenal lost away to QPR and Tottenham play Swansea on Sunday, and Di Matteo confirmed getting into the Champions League qualification positions was a priority for the club.

He insisted: “We always said we were going to try until the end. We’re playing catch-up, we’re aware of that, that’s our situation.

“The only thing we can do is try to win our games - we managed to do so today and win the three points - and just keep putting some pressure on. It’s certainly a priority for us. It’s crucial for us to finish there.”

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